DUI Driver Pleads Guilty In Pace Crash That Left Two Sisters Dead

August 16, 2018

A Santa Rosa County man has entered a guilty plea to 14 charges in connection with the DUI manslaughter death of two girls in Pace.

Kailen Kelly, age 35  of Pace, was traveling at a high rate of speed May 6 when he crossed into another lane on Woodbine Road and slammed his 2008 Ford pickup head-on into a 2010 Buick driven by 39-year old Melanie Harrell of Pace. . Stormie P. Harrell, 7, and Michaela D. Sidney, 17, were killed. Melanie Harrell and 18-year old McKenzie Murphy were injured.

Kelly’s license was suspended until April 2018 — reinstated just days before the crash — after he refused to submit to a DUI test in Okaloosa County in 2017. His past includes threatening a person with a firearm and discharging a firearm in Escambia County and two prior DUI convictions.

He had a blood alcohol level of .149, had marijuana in his system and refused a breath test after the double fatal crash May 6, according to testimony. He showed no remorse, and a 12 pack of beer was found in his truck.

Kelly was charged with two counts of DUI-vehicular manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury to another, refusing to submit to a DUI test after license suspension, reckless driving, fleeing/eluding police and other traffic offenses.

Pictured top: Kelly’s vehicle following a double fatal crash. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


12 Responses to “DUI Driver Pleads Guilty In Pace Crash That Left Two Sisters Dead”

  1. J. Thomas on August 17th, 2018 5:38 pm

    Ok… the hell with all the mitigation comments. Capital punishment is the only proven solution to recidivism. Dead psychopaths do not commit crimes or kill innocent people. Need and executioner? Contact me.

  2. Tabby on August 17th, 2018 1:21 pm

    @Esc leo, $ .25 per year per person. Take into account the roughly 105,000 inmates in prison at any given time. How many from Santa Rosa county. Only then will you have a real answer. The price is very high per capita.
    The price to pay to live in a society. Some of us don’t want society as it has become. Yet government blocks us through law from “really” living off grid as it purchases all the land and prohibits one from living. You, Fwc, so on and so forth with the alphabet agencies. Take our rights then sell them back to us. Regulated of course.

  3. Esc co leo on August 16th, 2018 11:34 pm

    @ grand locust

    To use a commonly quoted figure of $25,000 per year to incarcerate an inmate, and roughly 100,000 people in Santa Rosa county…

    That comes to 25 cents per person per year in taxes. I’ll gladly pay my portion to keep a killer in prison. It’s part of being in a society that values law and order.

  4. BG on August 16th, 2018 10:11 pm

    The law needs to bring back Public Hanging’s for killers

  5. Charlie on August 16th, 2018 4:01 pm

    @Philip—Sentencing September 24 I believe. Minimum 25 years, maximum life.

  6. Grand Locust on August 16th, 2018 2:28 pm

    It turns my stomach when I hear people talk about stopping the killings by putting people in Jail longer……That is the ticket…..punish taxpayers, and as soon as that person gets out of prison and drinks and drives, you want to blame judges, police, or probation, but the reality is we are all at fault. A drunk does not worry about more jail…..they are invincible, and the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results.

    You cannot stop all killings, but ignition interlocks are working all over this country on repeat offenders with stunning stats, but the Alcohol industry and the private jail folks want people buying alcohol and still be able to drive, and now that there is profit in jails, folks do not mind that we or others have lost family members……it always comes down to money. It is shameful, and if I have to hear one more moronic comment about somebody else by passing these ignition interlocks, the stats simply blow away that nonsense argument……like seat belts will cause people to drown when they drive into a pond……..yea but what about the other 99,9 percent of people who are saved by seatbelts. My prayers to the family, but after 30 years of my wife’s cousin getting killed by a drunk nothing has changed…..jail does NOT stop drunk driving.

  7. anne 1of2 on August 16th, 2018 1:38 pm

    There is no way to feel sorry for this drunk. I agree with Trocarman, judge needs to be his roommate.
    Prison time (10 years) on the first conviction would give drivers who drink a reason to think.

  8. Umm...? on August 16th, 2018 1:16 pm

    Umm, Phillip…where did you see that he had been sentenced to life? Seems to me he just did his plea and that’s it. Doubtful he gets life.

  9. Esc co leo on August 16th, 2018 8:50 am

    We need to start getting serious with punishments for first and second offenses of DUI to prevent as many of these deaths as possible. If a first offense DUI was a felony maybe people would think twice. Currently it takes 3 arrests within ten years to be a felony, unless somebody is hurt or killed like in this case. But Clearly the slap on the wrist for the first two didn’t stop him in this case.

  10. Phillip on August 16th, 2018 7:47 am

    This animal is not fit for civilization. Good job judicial system and states attorney office for putting this sack of garbage away for life

  11. Trocarman on August 16th, 2018 4:47 am

    This man had two prior DUI convictions before killing two innocent people. Perhaps the judge who let him off should be his roommate in prison.

  12. Charlotte on August 16th, 2018 2:15 am

    With two DUI’s, and now this one, pray he goes to prison for the rest of his life. There is no just punishment for what he did. That is the only way to keep drunk drivers off the roads. First time, five thousand dollars fine. Second time, ten years in prison. Sounds harsh? Not to families of the girls that got killed.

Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) NorthEscambia.com reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.